The Returning Officer can disqualify candidates for breaches of election rules so it is hugely important that candidates check first before they take any action that may result in a complaint or that may breach any of these regulations. Student complaints about harassment by candidates will be taken very seriously.
There will be compulsory candidate briefings following the close of the standing period. All students who have stood for election must attend or make alternative arrangements with the Democracy Coordinator.
Candidate briefing dates and times are listed on the Students' Union website.
All University of Manchester students are eligible to stand and vote for any position that is relevant to them, e.g. Only students in the faculty of Humanities can stand and vote for Humanities positions. Information about standing and voting will be available from the Students’ Union.
The election process is overseen by the Returning Officer, who is responsible for the good conduct and administration of the elections and shall have the sole interpretation of the election rules. The Returning Officer is assisted by a team who run the election ‘on the ground’ from the Students’ Union.
The team running the election is as follows:
Returning Officer: Sarah Edmunds (NUS staff member)
Deputy Returning Officer: William Carey (SU staff member – Head of Education and Advocacy)
Election Administrator: Emmet Cleaver
Candidate Liaisons:TBC (SU staff members)
Candidates for each elected role will be given an administrative contact for the election period. This person should be approached with general enquiries relating to the election. They will also contact candidates to encourage them to submit elections material.
The Deputy Returning Officer should be contacted for any clarification of rules, regulations or concerns around candidate conduct.
To stand in Students’ Union elections students will need to complete the relevant online application before the stated deadline. Applications are online and can be made here.
We can only accept forms with the compulsory information fully completed and submitted before the deadline.
The Students’ Union provides space for all candidates to use to promote themselves. All candidates are able to submit a manifesto, of up to 2 sides of A4 in a .PDF format, to encourage students to vote for them. These will be available for students to view on the Students’ Union website and the voting pages.
To submit a manifesto, candidates should upload a .PDF file to the Candidate Hub before the stated deadline. Any content submitted by candidates after this deadline, including manifestos, photos is unlikely to be available on the Students’ Union website and voting pages.
The Students’ Union will allow candidates an unlimited amount (within reason) of free black and white printing for producing campaign materials. Requests for free printing must be submitted via the Candidate Hub. Where possible, printing requests submitted before 12noon will be ready for collection the following working day. Please note that a fair use policy is in place and we may not process your requests for printing if we believe you have a significant amount of unused materials already printed.
There will always be a limit to how much a candidate can spend on their campaign. This will be announced to all candidates via email and at a candidate briefing within 2 hours of the close of the standing period. The Students’ Union will reimburse candidates for all of their campaign spending if this is supported by valid receipts and submitted before the deadline. If money is a barrier to participating in an election, we can make arrangements to pay campaign funding in advance, but this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Items that are already owned by a candidate may be used during a campaign, but they must be declared as if they had been bought during the election, and a monetary value will be attached. These items will be costed up as part of your campaign spending.
No candidate may spend more than the spending limit even if they do not reclaim their expenditure from the Students’ Union. Any spending above the limit will be treated as a serious breach of the election rules.
All items and any expenditure must be declared on the Statement of Expenditure. This must be returned to your candidate liaison within 1 hour of the close of voting. Failure to return your Statement of Expenditure may result in disqualification.
In principle, candidates must only do what all other candidates have an equal opportunity to do. For example, candidates cannot make use of personal connections to gain commercial advantages or use resources in their campaign which are made available to them by way of their position.
All candidates are encouraged to be friendly and MUST refrain from making negative comments or campaigning negatively about other candidates as individuals. While campaigning, students should promote their own strengths and positive attributes rather than criticising other candidates.
Candidates and supporters of candidates who have an official role or position inside or outside the Union may continue to act in this capacity, but they must not abuse their position for any purpose directly related to the election. Any members of the Exec Team wishing to campaign must do so in their own time, and must not use Students’ Union resources to do so.
Newspaper articles discussing the election or individual candidates or submitted by candidates need to be approved by the Returning Officer before publication.
All candidates must respect that every student has the right to vote confidentially and freely. Any complaints raised by students about being unfairly pressured to vote for any particular candidate will be taken extremely seriously. Candidates must not attempt to help students during the process of voting, even if a student has requested assistance. Using mobile devices to obtain votes is strictly prohibited.
Any publicity put up in the Students’ Union building must not be placed on windows (including windows inside doors), mirrors, fire exits, important signs or existing publicity. Publicity must only be put up using blue or white tack. Any requests to remove publicity by SU staff must be complied with promptly. Placing stickers inside the SU building is strictly prohibited.
Once publicity has been collected it is the property and responsibility of the candidate. The Students’ Union will not deal with complaints about publicity being taken down, other than in exceptional circumstances.
Societies, groups and clubs may endorse candidates and promote their candidacies using all the free methods available to them, e.g. Facebook pages, websites or group emails. Societies may not use any of their funds to support a candidate.
Decisions by societies or clubs to endorse candidates must not be made by the candidate themselves and must be made in accordance with the normal decision making processes of the club or society. Regular procedure must be followed by the club or society when deciding to endorse candidates, and if there is uncertainty about this, a decision of the full committee or a vote by members is recommended.
Exec Team Officers are able to support and endorse candidates but are subject to the Campaigning and Publicity rules outlined above.
Candidates are permitted to organise in teams, sometimes known as “slates”, and may produce shared publicity and encourage voters to support all the members of the team.
However, slates may not pool their resources to give them an unfair advantage or do things that independent candidates could not do. For example:
Slates may not pool their resources to obtain a bulk discount on purchases.
Slates may not pool their resources to purchase items that a single candidate could not buy.
Any complaints about candidate conduct should be raised in a timely manner and no later than one hour after the close of voting. All complaints must be submitted in writing using the complaints form and submitted to the Deputy Returning Officer. All complaints must be substantiated with evidence and explicitly state which rule has been broken.
The Returning Officer reserves the right to consider complaints as vexatious and may take disciplinary action accordingly.
Voting for Students’ Union elections will be online. Students rank candidates in order of preference and can rank as few or as many of the available candidates as they wish.
Online ballots shall bear the name of each candidate and the position being contested and where possible the order of candidates will be randomised. They may include other information at the discretion of the Returning Officer. There will be a facility for voting for “Re-Open Nominations”.
A number of NUS Conferences have eligibility requirements for delegations and the overall delegation. For example, the delegation to National Conference must be composed of at least 50% women (rounded down). These requirements are available in full on the SU website. Candidates do not need to do anything other than complete the standing form; the eligibility requirements will be met during the counting of votes.
Votes will be counted following the close of Voting when the Returning Officer is satisfied that all complaints relating to the conduct and administration of the election have been resolved.
Complaints received later than one hour after the close of voting may only relate to the conduct of the count.
The count will be conducted according to the rules laid down by the Electoral Reform Society for running elections by the Alternative Vote or Single Transferable Vote system.
Election Results shall be declared by the Returning Officer or their nominee when the count has been successfully completed.
The results will be announced both in person and electronically. The Deputy Returning Officer reserves the right to delay the announcement of the result.